Florian Bajs – a senior project manager at Greiner in Kremsmünster, Austria – has a job that brings new challenges every day, which he relishes. He manages budgeting, resources, time, and people with the goal of putting a new SAP software solution in place across the entire group.
A normal workday in Florian’s life includes a wide variety of tasks, appointments, and meetings, but two things are always at the top of the list: coordination and communication. After all, Florian’s role is to act as an interface between the four Greiner divisions. In this interview, Florian tells us how he fulfills his day-to-day duties and the wide range of tasks his job presents, as well as sharing the story of how he ended up at Greiner in the first place.
Versatile right from the start
Florian studied economics in Linz (Austria), Canada, and Taiwan. Specializing in marketing, strategic management, and international business allowed him to do what he loved best, even back then: working across different areas on a wide range of activities. “My career has taken me through every different field. I’ve been a purchasing manager, for instance, as well as heading up projects in financial accounting, managerial accounting, and IT.” For four years, he worked internationally in management consulting with a focus on industrial process optimization. “I did everything there was to do in that role, which made me quite a rare beast at the firm – a restructuring in Germany, a plant integration in Chile, operational performance measurement systems, product launches, and much more besides.” After that, his professional path increasingly led him toward IT and enterprise software. Although Florian enjoyed the diversity of working internationally, it became clear to him over time that he wanted to focus on other priorities: “I’ve worked in a total of 24 countries worldwide. But if you come back from Chile on a Saturday and are straight off for a flight to Poland on Sunday evening, you don’t have much in the way of free time.” Moving on to Greiner was a conscious choice for Florian: “My wife and I are from the area, and we wanted to go back to our home region with our 18-month-old daughter.” And the location wasn’t the only aspect that drew Florian back to his roots. He also has a long history connecting him with Greiner, having completed his first school-break internship with the company.
Starting out at Greiner
It was on July 13, 2020, that Florian started his job as a senior project manager at Greiner on the Greiner Campus in Kremsmünster. After just the first few weeks, he knew that he was in the right place here: “I’ve found an excellent person to work under in Markus Wagner, who has really taken the time and supported me from day one.” Florian appreciates the opportunity to work across divisions and with different people, cultures, and expectations. These are all crucial ingredients in determining the success of his approach, given that his main task is to transition the entire company to a new SAP system (S/4HANA). The aim is for this software to ensure that business processes are controlled more efficiently and facilitate smooth flows of information in the future. For this reason, communication is one of the most important factors when it comes to achieving Florian’s objectives: “Thanks to my professional experience, I’ve developed a good understanding of a huge range of different functions and people. The important thing is to make sure the expectations and goals line up before even starting with the process of planning.” Then, as always in project management, it is a matter of achieving the set goal on pace with the desired time frame, budget, and available resources. In this case, Florian knows that he can count on the support and skills of his colleagues: “Everyone already has experience under their belts. I see myself as a mountain guide, if you like. This isn’t the first time my colleagues have climbed a mountain. I’m just here to make sure we’re all headed in the same direction. As a team, we’ll make it to the top.”
Weathering the crisis together
Even during the coronavirus crisis, you can feel the sense of togetherness in the company. “Since we’re doing a lot of work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll find colleagues even more eager to come up for a chat when you meet at the office,” Florian says from personal experience. Since he began working at Greiner in the midst of the crisis, his start at the company was somewhat unusual: “During my onboarding phase, I tried to go into the office as often as possible to get my bearings. But most of my colleagues were working from home at the time. Needless to say, that’s an unusual way to start a new job.” The mask mandate in the office building and at the coffee counters presented a couple of challenges during his first days on the job: “If all you can see is someone’s eyes because they have a mask on, of course it makes it harder to keep track of who’s who when it comes to e-mails and video calls. Nevertheless, we’ve done a great job dealing with it.” Working from home has its advantages, too, Florian adds: “Due to the cross-divisional project and the current COVID-19 situation, I work in the virtual space all the time anyway, which means I’m flexible in terms of time and location. At home, even after I’ve put our daughter to bed, I often have time to deal with unresolved issues.” His own family is important to Florian, but he also values the friendly environment at the company.
One big family
“I think it’s great that Greiner is in such a good position internationally, but you still realize that it’s a family business. The atmosphere at work and the company values reflect that fact.” Another major plus-point for Florian is that Greiner supports employees with children. He uses Greiner’s day care facilities for his own daughter, which is naturally a convenient arrangement during his regular workdays. In general, diversity in the company and a successful interplay between different industries and people are important to Florian. “Thanks to the respectful environment and the company’s long-term orientation, I feel that I’m in good hands here.” And ultimately, that is why Florian still wants to achieve a great deal at Greiner.
Everyone knows what they are aiming for, they are in their starting positions, and suddenly they are out of the blocks. This analogy applies to Florian’s professional as well as his personal life – in his spare time, he has a passion for endurance sports, a pursuit where he also puts a lot of careful planning into his commitment and determination to cross the finish line. Florian is an avid cyclist and runner. He also regularly participates in competitions and enjoys taking on new challenges. These same skills help him on a professional level, too: “My job as project manager is challenging, varied, and requires a great deal of intuition. One of my strengths is my open-mindedness and ability to be responsive to others.” Florian knows that he has already been able to make some progress in his new role, but “there are plenty of things I’d still like to learn and get done at Greiner.” The senior project manager has his sights set on the future and an open ear for all Greiner’s divisions, and he is now looking to make headway in the IT space: “The SAP migration project is a challenge in itself – and one I’m having fun working to overcome.” This marathon-like project is giving Florian a chance to prove his endurance and experience – and in the end, we will all come out winners with a new SAP system.
Florian Bajs (38), senior project manager at Greiner in Kremsmünster
What does a normal day look like as a senior project manager at Greiner?
There’s no typical workday. I have three workplaces I regularly move between: the Greiner Campus, Blue IT, and the divisional headquarters. We always start on Mondays with a four-hour project managers’ meeting; I organize workshops, talk to representatives from the departments, coordinate external partners, and much more.
What do you like most about your job?
The job is challenging and varied. I work at an interface connecting the various Greiner divisions. The thing I most enjoy is communicating with and coordinating these various different units.
What does exercise mean to you?
For me, exercise is the perfect way to unwind from my work. When I’m exercising, I get the chance to test my limits, enjoy nature, and really switch off. That’s why I like to do mountain marathons and go cycling on my race bike. At the moment, though, I spend most of my free time with our daughter. But I’d like to get involved with the Greiner Road Cycle Club next year.